Janet L. Leasher, O.D., M.P.H., FAAO, FNAP received her Doctor of Optometry degree from Pacific University College of Optometry in 1986. In 1999, she received her Masters in Public Health in International Health and Development from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. She is a 2007 Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry.
Dr. Leasher holds the rank of Professor in Optometry and has served as the Director of Community Outreach for the Nova Southeastern University College of Optometry in Florida, U.S.A. since June 2003. As Director of Outreach for the College of Optometry, she spearheads community health education and promotion projects in visual health for the College. Current teaching assignments in the Doctor of Optometry program include public health didactic courses in community health promotion, health systems, policy, economics and ethics. She is a clinical preceptor for third year students in primary care, pediatric and binocular vision clinics. She is also faculty in the Master of Science Clinical Vision Research program and holds a faculty appointment within the Public Health program of the College of Osteopathic Medicine.
NSU was the North American Associated Center of the UNESCO Chair in Visual Health and Development, affiliated with the Polytechnic University of Catalonia in Barcelona, Spain from 2004-2014. Dr. Leasher was the Regional Coordinator for North America for the UNESCO Chair in Visual Health and Development and she represented the Chair on the International Agency to Prevent Blindness (IAPB) Council of Members since 2007. Her responsibilities with the Chair involved conducting research and cooperation projects in global visual health as well as education and sensitization programs regarding visual health and its role in development. She contributed to the bilingual CD-ROM and textbook, Visual Health and Development, and assists in conducting research on access to visual health services in the Americas. She continues to consult with international visual health and development programs, in particular in Latin America, and has lectured internationally. Her research interests surround program evaluation and global access to quality vision care, and she published several prominent papers on the global burden/epidemiology of vision loss. Since 2007, she has served as the regional coordinator for the Americas in the Vision Loss Expert Group for the Global Burden of Disease, Risk Factors and Injuries 2010 Study with continuing the 2013 and 2015 updates. She has co-authored 40+ papers in high impact journals which have been cited over 8200 times internationally.
She was named Oregon Young Optometrist of the Year in 1993, Top 150 Alumni of Pacific University and is listed in Who’s Who in Health Care in the New Millennium. The Global Burden of Disease Vision Loss Expert Group received the American Public Health Association Vision Care Section 2014 Outstanding Research Paper (Project) Award. She has received humanitarian service recognition for her dedication to serving those less fortunate both domestically and in developing countries. She is currently serving the National Eye Institute as a planning committee member for the National Eye Health Education Program. She serves the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry as chair-elect of the Public Health Educators SIG, and in the past she has served on the International Optometric Educator Committee and SIG, the Ethics SIG, the Cultural Competency Curriculum Workshop Task Force and as a cultural competency trainer. She is currently an active member of the Public Health Committee of the World Council of Optometry and in the past has served as the personal advisor on Latin America to the president, and various Task Forces, Vice Chair/Secretary of the Public Health and Development Committee, and in 2007 launched the Public Health Tool Kit for VISION 2020: The Right to Sight. She is a 30+ year member of the American Optometric Association, an active member of the Vision Care Section of the American Public Health Association, the American Academy of Optometry, the Association of Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, World Council of Optometry, Community Campus Partnerships for Health, and is a past Chancellor of Beta Sigma Kappa International Optometric Honor Society.